First Reading: Acts 18:23-28
After spending some time there he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phryg'ia, strengthening all the disciples. Now a Jew named Apol'los, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aq'uila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Acha'ia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully confuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 47:2-3, 8-10
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the LORD, the Most High, is terrible, a great king over all the earth. For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted!
Gospel: John 16:23-28
In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name. Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. "I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father."
Do you ever find yourself reading something, or listening to something, believing you already know what is coming, you've heard it before, there is nothing new in it for you?
I often find myself doing just that when I read or listen to the Bible readings . . . especially when I feel the weights of my to-do list growing by the second, or when I can't shake the urge to move on to checking my email, or when the kids keep calling out, "Momomomom . . . ."
Did you do that just now, too? Read through today's readings and get to the end hoping I bring it all back for you so aren't lost? Take a minute and read the Gospel again. Listen to Jesus. He has quite the monologue going in this chapter of John, but one part might get skimmed over too quickly.
"Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name . . .”
In other words, "I know you haven't come to my Father in prayer and set your needs before Him yet."
". . . ask, and you will receive that your joy will be full . . .."
Read that again. ASK. SO YOUR JOY WILL BE FULL.
I read this a few times before I believed it. Even so, I need to live this so I believe it. Ask so I will be filled with joy. Bring my needs to the Lord so He can make me joyful. Seek Him and He will not deny you.
Of course, Jesus isn't promising us a winning lottery ticket, an easy-street four years in college, illness-free and whine-free children, a perfect career, Prince Charming, or even daily happiness. He is promising us that if we ask (to know God's will, to deepen our faith, to grow in love, to be at peace, to have grace . . .) for those things which are truly good for us and our eternal happiness, that we will not be disappointed, and our joy will be full.
And joy, that state of being that comes when we allow God to work in our lives, is worth asking for, over and over again.
Take to heart these lessons from Jesus! We ought to run to meet Him in prayer, to seek Him, to ask the Father in Jesus' name for our joy to be full. Whatever is good for us, it will be given, and whatever is good for us will increase our joy.
Gina Fensterer is a wife, daughter, mother, friend, homeschooling mama and Colorado native. You can find out more about her here.